Monday, 11 July 2011

Rest Day Review: Nike Tempo vs Pacer - which shorts are better for a petite runner?

I spend a lot of time trying to find running gear that fits my 5'1" frame. While I want the best technical features (breathable, flat seams, quick drying), as with other clothes I want to wear things that are the right proportions and help my short legs look longer! I have yet to find a manufacturer that makes good, technical running gear in petite sizes (if you know of any please let me know!) so I tend just go with the usual brands--Nike, Adidas, etc--and buy whatever they have in an XS.

With the warmer weather these days I'm sure we've all been wearing shorts! Running shorts are tricky for me because they are usually too long and make me look dumpy. I generally go with the shortest shorts I can find (that still leave me looking respectable)! Nike is one of the brands I wear often because if the length is okay, the overall fit of the XS is usually fine. I recently bought 2 styles of Nike running shorts - the Pacer and one I've seen a lot of ladies wearing, the Tempo.

Pacer running shorts - Currently £20 on the Nike website. The inner brief and wide waistband with tie on the outside make these really comfortable, and the rise doesn't feel too high. It's the perfect style in the hot weather when you don't want to wear something too clingy. The inseam of the outer short is 4 inches and it hangs a bit below the inner brief. I think these fit really well and the length is just about short enough. My only quibble with these is that there is no pocket for keys or other bits and pieces!

Tempo Track running shorts - These were on sale at Sweatshop Online for only £12 (vs £16 non-sale price) so I thought I would give them a try, especially since they seem so popular at the moment. Like the Pacer short, these have an inner brief but have a traditional elastic waistband with inner tie. While they are comfortable and the brief fits fine, overall the Tempo feels a little bit "poofier" than the Pacer. And although the inseam of the outer brief is shorter than the Pacer short at 3.25 inches, they hang lower so look a little bit longer.

Nike Pacer Running Short (L) and Nike Tempo Track Shorts (R)

THE VERDICT: Pacer Running Shorts WIN! Both shorts are comfortable, but for me the Pacer is the best choice for my short legs. The wide waistband was super comfortable, and the overall fit and length worked much better on my petite frame.  The Tempo shorts are going back....

Other petite runners out there, I'd be interested in hearing what shorts work for you!

(Apologies for being a little camera shy!)


  1. Hey there, 5'2" runner here. Thanks for this comparison! I was wondering what the differences were, and debated between the two, but ordered the Pacer (based on sale price) about a month ago. I think they're really comfortable and I like the flip-down waist band. They still come in tons of colors (but the Tempo seems to have the best color selection). Maybe we have different versions of the shorts -- but check the back waist band. My shorts have two hidden key pockets, one on each side, in the back, just below the elastic waist band.

    Aside from the Pacer short, I have several pairs of shorts by Lululemon. They have a range of inseams, so you should be able to find something you like, but they are pricier than Nike shorts. The brief is comfortable, most have a wide waist band, some have a zip pocket at the back, and they started making several of the styles with two gu-pockets in the front waist band.

  2. I'm 5'1" and coincidentally, I too have the exact same Nike pacer shorts. I've been wearing them for a while now and I can't seem to find any other shorts that fit as well : ) They are perfect for my petite frame and are so lightweight.